I met Matthew Quinn, the iconic kitchen and bath designer, at the Sub-Zero/Wolf showroom in Atlanta recently where he spoke to an intimate group of media contacts and bloggers to discuss today’s kitchen design trends. According to Quinn, it really starts with EuroCucina, an international kitchen and bath show in Milan every other year; the most recent show was April 2014. Quinn shared that EuroCucina was the place to see top design trends in one place, but it takes a week to walk the show since it literally has a mile of showrooms and is attended by over 300,000 global attendees. Before the Internet, blogs and instantaneously news coverage, it would take trends seen at EuroCucina a few years to hit the world…now we see them almost immediately.
So how are physical spaces evolving in the kitchen?
It’s more open and it’s growing. Kitchens are becoming larger as we want bigger kitchens whether we cook or not. It’s where the party ends up, right?! And the larger kitchen spaces include an expanded keeping room or adjoining areas.
We want more windows. Other wall spaces may be sacrificed for more windows. We want more light and more nature light.
The ceiling design has become much more important. This is especially true in rooms where we spend most of our time. In the past, homeowners spent a lot of money on the ceilings in the formal dining and living rooms that were rarely used. Now they are spending money on ceilings in the kitchens and breakfast rooms where they spend most of their time. These ceilings can range in design from groin, coffer, radius vaults and the addition of beams and other natural elements.
Lighting has become much more important. Lighting can make a home especially by adding more unique lighting in the kitchen. To get more light, consumers are prone to add more can lights but Quinn likes the addition of sconces and library lamps especially around the kitchen hood or other unique areas in the kitchen. Other unique lighting can be achieved by adding an artisan element.
Although Quinn’s work and the Matthew Quinn Collection series take him across the world, his kitchen design work is primarily focused on the Atlanta market, Florida (especially anything on the coast) and New York. The Atlanta design trend is about 30% traditional, 20% modern and 50% transitional. Atlantans like to play it safe with their kitchen designs but are willing to take risks if they can see it. They are more conservative and more conscious about resale. Atlantans like to take a trend and make it their own by adding their own personal twist. They want to make it unique and exclusive regardless of their budgets.
One thing that Quinn likes to do to get a client’s sense of style is to ask them: What is your favorite restaurant and your favorite hotel? This will gleam a sense of their style. Funny enough he also likes to go into their closets to see what colors they like to wear and get their own sense of style through the clothes they wear.
Quinn recommends when working on a new kitchen to start with architecture, then flooring, then countertops, then cabinets and appliances.
Architecture: Designers like Quinn are taking the angles out of kitchens. Kitchens are becoming square in its design, making for a cleaner and simpler look. In his kitchens he’s achieving a design that’s more ‘grounded.’
Flooring: Consumers want their floors to speak volume vs. simply selecting a prefab material. Hardwoods are still very popular but flooring is being installed in interesting patterns especially in smaller, unique spaces. The use of reclaimed woods allow consumers to tell a story.
Countertops: Keep in mind that countertops can be unique and exclusive with the backsplash as the same material as the countertops. And backsplashes aren’t just for behind the stove but the material can be used on that entire wall to make a more dramatic visual element: think tile walls to slab backsplashes. Surfaces are subtle. With countertops consider waterfall, stone sink, marble, granite, quartz and quartzite and integrated stone sinks. Also consider the various edge details available with whatever material is selected.
Cabinets and Kitchen Stove Hoods: When you think about a kitchen design you want to consider drawers, wall cabinets and doors. And Sub-Zero makes a full line of drawer cabinets including refrigerator drawers, freezer drawers and more. The interior of cabinets are just as important as the exteriors. Microwaves can be integrated into a drawer or cabinet. Specialty drawers include all sorts of various options including china holders, pot lid racks for cookies sheets and pot lids, spice holders, silverware dividers, and more. White kitchens will continue to reign. It’s timeless. But materials like exquisite veneers are very popular and have an exotic look.
Don’t forget the details: Modern kitchen cabinets typically have no hardware while traditional and transitional incorporate handles and even uniquely designed knobs and handles ranging from adding the homeowner’s initials to an artisan element.
Kitchen stove hoods are still a strong design element for homeowners but the material used now range from metal, brass, copper, pewter, stainless, painted and even combinations of materials and then perhaps a handmade element is added. Painted metal hoods are achieved by a powder-coated process available in hundreds of colors that’s adheres directly to the metal.
Appliances: The importance of appliance integration needs to be in contrast to other commercial appliances. Although Quinn prefers to integrate all the appliances sans the range and ovens depending on local area’s building codes, but an all white kitchen might incorporate a double stainless and/or stainless and glass Sub-Zero refrigerator to give the space a dramatic element that breaks the use of a lot of white.
If a client wants two wall ovens, Quinn might be quick to suggest placing the ovens side by side so they are symmetric and within a client’s reach vs. one being too high and one being too low. He’ll even go as far as taking the client’s elbow height measurement so the ovens can be placed accordingly for ease of the client’s reach.
The continued popularity of television cooking shows is also making kitchens more chef-oriented. Homeowner’s that love to cook want their kitchens to say just that: ‘I love to cook.’ And they do this, for example, by beautifully showcasing their knives, pots and pans, spices and even the new stainless and glass refrigerators.
So my final take away on Quinn’s kitchen trend presentation is to hire a professional kitchen designer that will collaborate with the architect, lighting experts, and local artisans to make your new kitchen uniquely yours.
Matthew Quinn is co-owner of Kitchen Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio at Matthew Quinn Collection at ADAC in Atlanta. Design Galleria specializes in kitchen, bath and closet design for projects spanning the globe. The Matthew Quinn Collection is a showcase of unique decorative hardware and an information center for products such as sinks, tubs, faucets and hoods sold around the globe through various distributors and retailers.